Aftermath of the Noctis kill

30th January 2011 – 3.43 pm

A Noctis isn't much use when salvaging other people's wrecks. The salvager ship's tractor beams won't be able to lock on to wrecks owned by others, negating the main bonuses of improved range and speed of the beams. A more traditional destroyer is more suitable, being agile and quick, zipping from wreck-to-wreck, cycling salvager modules in the eight high slots to recover damaged components quickly before moving on. But even before the wrecks can be stolen it is best to survey the situation. We pop a Noctis for our first time and watch as three Tengu strategic cruisers abandon their Sleeper operation, and now we want to know how safe it is to profit from their retreat.

I swap the bloodied Manticore stealth bomber for my Buzzard covert operations boat, warping back across space and jumping in to our neighbouring class 3 w-space system. I launch probes and begin to scan when a second Buzzard is seen briefly on the directional scanner. Perhaps he came and went, seeing my probes and not wanting to get involved. Or he could be a scout, sent by our adversaries who are now looking to see if they can get our salvager in return. It's difficult to know. There are no other probes in the system but my own, but that could either be because the Buzzard exitted or already has the bookmark. It really is difficult to know.

Scanning soon finds a wormhole, a K162 coming from a class 4 w-space system, the connection reaching the end of its natural lifetime. It seems unlikely to me that the targets came from here, passing through the EOL wormhole for a possibly extended operation against the Sleepers, and I keep scanning. I resolve a second wormhole, the system's static, an exit to low-sec empire space. I would never have guesssed. Fin is loitering in this system in her stealth bomber and uses my ship as a beacon to find the wormhole herself, heading out to get the destination system. And it's in the Derelik region, not exactly convenient for the market but only one hop from the safety of high-sec.

Fin uses the exit as an opportunity to buy more bombs. We seem to go through them quite quickly. I continue scanning the C3. There are no more wormholes to find, though. The connection from the C4 stays quiet, too. Maybe the other capsuleers collapsed their connection to isolate themselves from our aggressiveness, or perhaps they are more confident about the timing of their wormhole's life, and were happy to use the few hours available to venture through. I'm not about to jump in to the C4 to find out, in case the wormhole collapses behind me and I find myself with a long journey home. Instead, I'll salvage the wrecks left behind by the Tengus.

The C3 seems quiet enough, and the C4 connection dormant. I'm ready to take a Cormorant destroyer out to salvage—the Marquis of Granby, in my service for quite a while now and upgraded with salvager II modules—but Fin suggests a more agile frigate instead. If I need to get out of trouble it may be best, and it's a good idea. But we lack enough salvager modules to fit one properly without stripping another ship, and the frigate would be unrigged and potentially slower in salvaging. I can risk myself in the destroyer, as I think it's fairly safe, although I fit a warp core stabiliser too, just in case.

Recovering the wrecks is harmless, as it turns out, even though a Buzzard—the same Buzzard?—appears on d-scan and launches a single combat probe. I should be fast enough to avoid getting caught, particularly when repeated punches of d-scan continue to show only the single probe. Fin is back from the market and goes to get a pointy ship, seeing as the Buzzard doesn't seem to want to cloak, but in her haste gets polarised on our static wormhole. That's okay, I've finished salvaging and am coming home. Only twenty million ISK in profit is recovered, which is pretty good considering that salvaging is essentially a lottery and that none of the blue Sleeper loot remained.

Once free from being polarised, Fin returns to the C3 to find the uncloaked Buzzard on the C4 K162. I board my own Manticore again and go back to the C3 to join Fin in wondering what to do. Well, we know what we want to do, we're more wondering how much attention the Buzzard pilot is paying to his surroundings. With him so close to a wormhole we don't need to get a point on his ship, so with us both sitting at about thirty-five kilometres from him we decloak and launch two more bombs. The answer to our question is 'enough', as the Buzzard pilot jumps out of the C3 to the C4 before the bombs detonate. We get clear and cloak, changing our positions so as not to be easily discovered, and a Tengu jumps through the wormhole, tries to look menacing for a minute, and jumps back.

Fin goes home to get another couple of bombs, not having reloaded after the successful assault on the Noctis earlier, as I watch the wormhole. We have forty more bombs brought home, which should keep us going for a while. Nothing happens at the wormhole, though. Then again, we're not about to launch only a pair of bombs at a strategic cruiser, unaccompanied or otherwise. We need bigger guns for that. Hearing that nothing is happening, Fin reloads and stows her Manticore, clambering in to a Bustard transport ship instead to take out to high-sec market some of the ore I 'mined' from other ships. The C3 remains quiet, the C4 K162 doesn't flare again. I head home to rest, happy that today I have refrained from getting Fin killed.

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